How do I apply for Universal Credit?
Universal Credit (UC) claims are normally made and dealt with online.
Before you start, watch this video to help you understand what you will have to do to make a claim :
You are expected to make your claim for UC online whenever possible.
If you need help filling in the form go to your local Jobcentre – they should refer you to Citizens Advice for free help under their Help to Claim service.
Don’t worry if you do not have an address for the form – use the Jobcentre or an hostel you are staying in as a ‘care-of’ address. For more advice about claiming UC when you are homeless, click here.
If you are a couple you will need to make a joint claim.
What if I can’t get online?
If you can’t get online you should be able to use the computers in your local Jobcentre. Staff there should be able to help you use the computers and if you need help completing your claim they should refer you to the Citizens Advice Help to Claim service.
In limited circumstances you might be able to apply for UC over the phone or arrange for someone to visit you at home. For example, if you have a long term physical disability or mental health condition which stops you from applying online. Contact the free UC helpline on 0800 328 5644 (Welsh language : 0800 012 1888) to ask if you can apply by phone or arrange a home visit. Someone can call on your behalf.
What information do I need to give in support of my claim?
Once you have applied online you will probably need to book an ‘Initial Evidence interview’ at the Jobcentre so that you can give in all of the evidence needed to support your claim.
You can book this interview through your online account or you can ring 0345 600 4272. The Jobcentre should allow you to use their phone to do this.
Take a look at our checklist of items that you need to take to your Initial Evidence interview.
What happens next?
Once you have applied, an online account will be created for you. You are expected to manage your claim through the online journal – uploading documents, and telling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about changes in your circumstances etc.
If your claim for UC is successful you will:
- be given a ‘work coach’
- be asked to accept a ‘claimant commitment’ – telling you what you need to do to keep getting UC
- be given a ‘to do’ list in your online journal. It is important that you check this regularly.
Before you start your claim, watch this video from the DWP which explains in detail how you make a claim for UC online.
You should receive your first payment within 5 weeks.
Can my claim be backdated?
UC can only be backdated for one month, and there are only very specific conditions which allow this.
You can ask for backdating if:-
• you have a disability which affects your ability to claim (both of you if you are a couple)
• you have a medical certificate to show you were too ill to claim (both of you if you are a couple)
• your jobseekers allowancs (JSA) or employment support allowance (ESA) had ended, but the DWP did not notify you
• you were part of a couple, and your ex-partner did not accept the ‘claimant commitment’.